Digital healthcare: CCHE creates Egypt's first digital hospital

The Children’s Cancer Hospital in Egypt builds out a new branch in Tanta City with a vision of creating the country’s first truly digital hospital

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Digital healthcare: CCHE creates Egypt's first digital hospital Eng. Mohamed Abdelfattah, infrastructure & consulting services director, CCHE (left); Eng. Ayman Ibrahim, clinical informatics director, CCHE (right).
By  Tom Paye Published  January 23, 2016

In recent years, the healthcare system has been thoroughly modernised, thanks largely to the development of electronic healthcare records (EHR) and health information systems (HIS). These have enabled plenty of hospitals around the Middle East to go effectively paperless, due to the fact that records are entered, processed and managed electronically through these systems. And while the first EHR and HIS systems were fairly rudimentary, modern systems are full-featured, user-friendly and extremely powerful.

That said, the Middle East has only seen widespread adoption of these systems in recent years. Previously, as usual, the United States led the pack in this area, but this region has since leapfrogged the more developed markets and implemented cutting-edge technologies that enable hospitals to go paperless and provide better information to patients and doctors.

One early adopter of HIS in the Middle East was the Children’s Cancer Hospital in Egypt (CCHE). Located in the Sayeda Zeinab district of Cairo, the hospital has 320 permanent beds and is planning to expand to 620 beds, following the construction of a new extension. It has been designed to facilitate family-centred care, while meeting the most stringent requirements for immuno-compromised patients and infection control. It was founded and is maintained entirely on donations, with a mission of providing free-of-charge cancer care to children. And in 2009, the hospital became the first in the country to adopt HIS, with a deployment of a solution from healthcare specialist Cerner.

Indeed, according to Eng. Mohamed Abdelfattah, infrastructure and consulting services director, CCHE, the hospital prides itself on providing state-of-the-art care to its patients.

“This state-of-the-art facility includes diagnostics and laboratory support (including scans, nuclear medicine, blood bank, cytogenetics, virology, and stem cell collection and storage), a fully equipped radiotherapy department, and intensive care and bone marrow transplant units. Complicated tumour procedures, such as neuro, micro, and ophthalmic surgery, can all be carried out on-site. There is also a specialised clinical pharmacy and large outpatient facility that can accommodate up to 500 patients per day,” he says.

“The new hospital infrastructure design embodies the core principles of Medical-Grade Network architecture. This sets out best practices in building the network foundation required by clinical applications, thereby securely connecting people, processes, information, and devices.The hospital uses mobility solutions, enabling doctors, engineers, nurses and others to move freely around the hospital and stay connected to medical data and healthcare applications.”

CCHE’s operations have been so successful in recent years that the hospital has been able to expand its branches. Recently, the hospital set up a new branch at Tanta City, meaning that the IT department was once again challenged to provide the right systems to doctors, nurses and patients.

Business challenge

To meet international standards of children with cancer, CCHE had to select and upgrade systems such as the Cerner one. Following successful improvements at the hospital’s headquarters in Cairo, CCHE was encouraged to build another branch at Tanta City to help and support patients in that area. The operations of the new branch, dubbed ‘57357’, had to be totally integrated into the main hospital in Cairo, and CCHE wanted it to be a fully digital hospital.

“57357 was founded on a vision for connected healthcare - using the power of technology to improve clinical efficiency and effectiveness, make better use of scarce resources, and remove the limitations presented by geographical boundaries. In addition, it is free of charge for all regardless of ability to pay,” explains Eng. Ayman Ibrahim, clinical informatics director at CCHE.

Indeed, Ibrahim adds that, for the new branch, CCHE wanted to use the most advanced technologies in the world.

The solution

For the new branch, CCHE called on the leading technology vendors to help create and integrate the architecture. Vendors such as Cisco, Microsoft, HP, Oracle and Dell each contributed to the new, next-generation network, which was built using the Medical-Grade Architecture. The network had to be highly secure as well, as an objective of the deployment was to allow BYOD, which allows doctors and employees to access the hospital’s systems from anywhere in the world.

“In an environment where every second counts, three-dimensional (3D) scans can be viewed, shared, and stored online. This makes it easier for doctors to consult together on each patient case, enabling faster and better group decision making and efficiency. It also releases valuable space that had been used to store X-rays and patient files to be re-used for better purposes. The network also provides ubiquitous access to the HIS, the central system for patient care management, as well as other business applications, such as ERP,” explains Abdelfattah.

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